WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Aston Martin Lagonda Limited v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Sean Sterling

Case No. D2018-1997

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Aston Martin Lagonda Limited of Gaydon, Warwick, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by Lewis Silkin LLP, United Kingdom.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama City, Panama / Sean Sterling of Berlin, Germany.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <astonmartinjp.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 1, 2018. On September 3, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 3, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on September 5, 2018, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on November 8, 2018.

The Center verified that the Complaint, together with the amended Complaint, satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 12, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 2, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 3, 2018.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on December 12, 2018. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd is a well-known car manufacturer selling sports cars around the world. The Complainant owns multiple trademark registrations incorporating its ASTON MARTIN trademark, including the European Union trademark No. 8367815 registered on March 16, 2010, in classes 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 38, 39, 41, and 43, and the United Kingdom trademark No. 1305661 registered on June 14, 1991.

The Respondents are a privacy protection service based in Panama and an individual presumably residing in Berlin, Germany. The disputed domain name was registered on August 14, 2018, and is currently resolving to a landing page containing automatically generated pay-per-click (“PPC”) links.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant alleges that it has satisfied all elements of the Policy, paragraph 4.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has shown that it has rights in the ASTON MARTIN trademark, which is reproduced in its entirety in the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name differs from the Complainant’s ASTON MARTIN trademark only by the addition of the letters “jp”, an abbreviated geographical denominator for Japan. It is the consensus view of UDRP panels that the addition of such descriptive terms does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the Policy, and such is the case in the current proceeding, where the disputed domain name incorporates the entirety of the relevant trademark (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7). Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ASTON MARTIN trademark.

Therefore, the Complainant has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name.

Based on the Complainant’s credible contentions, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made out a prima facie case which remains unrebutted by the Respondent, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain name resolves to a landing page with automatically generated PPC links.

With respect to such “automatically” generated PPC links, UDRP panels have held that a respondent cannot disclaim responsibility for content appearing on the website associated with its domain name (nor would such links ipso facto vest the respondent with rights or legitimate interests) (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.5).

It follows from the above that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Accordingly, the Complainant has also fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <astonmartinjp.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tobias Zuberbühler
Sole Panelist
Date: December 20, 2018